The Labour Party has called for the right for care home residents to receive visits from loved ones to be enshrined in law.
The commitment follows a call from the cross-party Joint Committee on Human Rights for the default position to be that those in care homes are able to receive visits from a ‘significant person’.
The committee have said that blanket bans on family visits are in breach of the legal right to family life.
The pandemic has seen many care home residents unable to receive visits from their families for almost a year, with limited visiting introduced late last year and then scrapped when the second wave hit.
Changing the default position to a right to family visits would recognise not only the anguish that separation has caused families; but would recognise the significant role that family members play in providing care to care home residents; supporting their mental and physical health.
This is particularly true not only for care home residents with dementia whose health can deteriorate quickly if their routines and family connections are lost; but also for working age adults with physical and learning disabilities.
‘Thousands of families have been prevented from seeing their loved ones, many for almost a year. This has not only cased them terrible anguish but harmed the physical and mental health of care home residents too,’ said shadow social care minister, Liz Kendall.
‘Government guidelines haven’t worked. We now need urgent action to enshrine the rights of all care home residents to have safe family visits, and to end blanket visit bans. Other countries are leading the way on this issue. Ministers here must now follow suit and bring forward legislation as a matter of urgency.’
Photo Credit – Centre for Ageing Better